Soon the South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Bill 2016 will be debated in parliament. We want to remind politicians this is about real people who want a choice in how their life ends. That’s why we have launched a campaign - it's called Be The Bill.
The campaign is jointly backed by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Association and Go Gentle Australia. Australia's nurses witness the suffering of patients and their families day in and day out. They are leading lobbying efforts for a law with strong checks and balances.
Heading the campaign is 35 year old Port Pirie woman Kylie Monaghan, who has advanced cancer which has spread to her liver and bones. She is launching a personal appeal to South Australia parliamentarians who will soon vote on the Voluntary Euthanasia Bill 2016. Kylie wants politicians to look beyond the impersonal nature of the bill and remind them that their vote affects real people in real suffering. Which is why Kylie is going to be the first to make a change to the Bill - she's putting her own name in it.Read more
More promising news today, with Queensland MP Peter Wellington calling for an inquiry into end of life choices.
Posting on his Facebook page, Mr Wellington said:
Taboo Subject Must Be Aired
It is time Queensland Parliament consulted with Queenslanders on the topic of end of life choices for adults including the case of people experiencing unbearable and hopeless suffering as a criteria for requesting help to die.
Once our Governor approves recent changes to the Parliament of Queensland Act so that our parliamentary committees can conduct enquiries on their own initiative, I will ask our Health Committee to hold an enquiry into this important topic.
UPDATE 2, 15 SEPTEMBER: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has now joined seven of his senior ministers in publicly supporting calls for voluntary euthanasia legislation.
UPDATE 1, 15 SEPTEMBER: Since publishing this story yesterday, five more Victorian Labor ministers have voiced their support for voluntary euthanasia legislation. This article from The Age has been updated. Thank you to everyone in Victoria who joined our campaign and emailed their local member!
Promising news has come from Victoria today, with two key Victorian politicians voicing their support for the introduction of voluntary euthanasia legislation.
The Age first reported that Health Minister Jill Hennessy announcing that she supports the legalisation of assisted dying, and that the parliament and Labor government had to look at the issue closely.
"I believe that as a government, and as a parliament we need to look at euthanasia very closely," Ms Hennessy told Fairfax Media.
"Personally – and I believe personal experience plays a strong role in informing people's views on this issue – I support euthanasia."
"I also think it is clear community sentiment has shifted on this issue, and there is significant community debate around euthanasia at the moment."
It has been reported that Perth GP Dr Alida Lancee is being investigated for murder after assisting a patient to die.
Dr Lancee is one of 72 people who gave moving testimonies in our eBook The Damage Done. She wrote of assisting with the peaceful death of a woman whose suffering was so immense that she had on three occasions been found attempting suicide at home by her distraught daughter.
We don’t support any doctors acting outside the law. But the problem here is not with doctors, it’s with the law. Doctors are being placed in an impossible position, being asked by patients who are dying, and who are suffering beyond medical help, for assistance to die mercifully. This shouldn’t have to happen in secret. It should be fully regulated. A compassionate society writes a law that helps patients and protects doctors in this situation. It does not leave patients to suffer and make doctors criminals.Read more
On August 10, Go Gentle Australia co-director Andrew Denton addressed the National Press Club of Australia on the topic The Damage Done: The Price Our Community Pays Without A Law For Assisted Dying.
There he lit a fire, and officially launched our campaign for an assisted dying law in Australia with the release of our book, 'The Damage Done', which you can purchase here.
You can watch the address on the ABC National Press Club website here.
You may download the full transcript as a PDF here.
The Damage Done: The Price Our Community Pays Without A Law For Assisted Dying
I’ve come here today to try and light a fire.
Let me strike the first spark by telling you the story of 90-year-old South Australian Eileen Dawe. As she was dying of cancer last year, Eileen kept a diary. Despite her clearly-stated wish to die she was forced to endure 17 painful weeks until the disease finally took her. Hoping to hasten nature’s course she began to starve herself to death. In her diary she wrote “My country’s laws decree ‘Death by a thousand cuts for me’”.
If you've ever dieted for a week you know how unpleasant that is. Imagine a month of it. Or more. Weaker and weaker, with all the unpleasantness of starvation PLUS the symptoms of her cancer. Weaker still, and still not dead.
How can our laws allow such a thing? Not just allow but insist on it. And why – despite polls which consistently show Australians overwhelmingly support a law that would have helped Eileen to die humanely - has no Australian parliament responded to the public will?Read more